What’s Your “Root?” Autostraddle Editors Remember What Brought Them to This Website for the First Time

Believe it or not, beautiful flowers, we weren’t all just put on this website by the grace of goddess. (Although it often feels that way.) For myriad reasons, we all somehow ended up clicking over to this very special place called Autostraddle Dot Com at some pivotal point in our queermo lives, and now we’re all still here making it happen! In this roundtable, our editors and writers share their “root” — the posts that brought them here for the first time.


Carmen, Feminism Editor

We Are Lesbian Tumblr in 57 Parts

lying-in-bed

I always knew what Autostraddle was because I was friends with Katrina, but when I was coming out I saw this article in my Internet and when I clicked on it, I saw all my truths. It was my Autostraddle “click” moment. Suddenly, everything made sense. I posted the piece to Tumblr and tagged it #Autostraddle, and before I knew it (and mere months into my queer career), Riese had subsequently lurked my Tumblr, found pictures of Katrina, and told her to tell me to email the crew if I was interested in writing for AS. I am lesbian Tumblr, and it’s why I’m here.


Laura Mandanas, Contributing Editor

Lez Liberty Lit

autostraddle-lez-liberty-litwebBefore I ever heard of Autostraddle, I used to write monthly reviews of lesbian literature for the Lesbrary. I was a hungry baby queer, and I read every post and clicked every link. On June 1, 2011, Head Lesbrarian Danika posted a link roundup that included Writers Gone Wild: Lambda Literary Awards Spark Debate on the Future of Gay Books by Carolyn. I started reading, sporadically (this article by Rachel found me at a time I really needed it!), but what really got me hooked as a regular reader was when Autostraddle started doing Lez Liberty Lit. Because not only did they have smart and funny and awesome thing to say about lesbian lit — now they were doing a link roundup and linking back to the Lesbrary. And I really, really wanted Carolyn and Riese to link to one of my reviews. (They did, eventually. It was beyond thrilling for me.)


Mey, Contributing Editor

I’m Just Your Typical Urban Hipster Femme Twentysomething Trans Lesbian

this is me

The first thing I can remember reading on Autostraddle was this article by Annika. I already followed her on Tumblr, and so I was really excited to see her doing this series of blogs for a new website (well, new to me at least). After I read her article, I looked around Autostraddle and saw it was this super awesome website for queer women, and until then, most places like that that I found were at least somewhat hostile toward trans women. I was intrigued, and so I started reading other articles on the website and I fell totally in love. But hey, as cliché as it is that this was the article that brought me here, I guess it means that Autostraddle was on the right track in its goal of being a welcoming space for queer trans women.


Mari Brighe, Contributing Editor

Hello, Estrogen – Farewell, Heteronormative Privilege


In a word: Annika. When I was a scared, lonely trans girl dealing with complications of transitioning and getting my shit together, Annika’s articles on AS were huge source of comfort. I remember thinking “Wow, there’s this adorable little trans woman writing for an awesome queer women’s website? Maybe things will be okay.” This piece in particular was one of my favorites. It also permanently endeared me for Autostraddle for being an awesome queer place where trans women and their writing were welcome.


 Hannah Hodson, Contributing Editor

2013 Calendar Girls

miss_september_06_online

As a bisexual who was only halfway out of the closet, I had relegated myself to googling “boobies” when I wanted to see pretty women, but those images always felt like they were meant for male consumption. Then the Autostraddle calendar girls came to save me from my perpetual tumescence. Empowering images of drop-dead gorgeous women that felt like they were being offered to me, instead of thieved from the bowels of the internet. I rifled through all of them until there were no more to be rifled, and then realized AS does some other pretty amazing things, like gift lists, which confused me because I was like “where are all the whiny people?” Not here. Because I had found the place where queers and feminists could support one another and have a great time doing it. Boobs, News and Brunch. What more can a girl ask for?


Maddie Taterka, Contributing Editor

You Need Help: A Lesson Before Dying

tears

I came to Autostraddle for the relationship tips, and stayed for the dead parent writing. While I don’t remember exactly the sequence of events, I am quite certain that I, like so many others, arrived at Autostraddle via the legendary How to Have Lesbian Sex articles. It was in the days of my poring over other websites for queer women in (typically unsuccessful) attempts to learn useful information about sex. While AS certainly satisfied that need, the sex tips weren’t what hooked me. The day I really knew AS was the place for me was on the day when Riese published this piece. I read it and I cried over Riese’s words of advice for a person who wanted to be there for a friend when the friend’s mother died. It was one of the first things I read related to having a dead parent that didn’t make me want to roll my eyes and/or scream, but instead, made me feel like someone was holding my hand who really understood what it was like.

I have often felt that my having-a-dead-mom identity is every bit as vivid and critical a part of who I am as all my other social identities. “A Lesson Before Dying,” and the other brilliant and beautiful Death Is Sad essays, have given me a place to nurture that piece of myself as much as it has given me a place to nurture my queer woman self.


Ali Osworth, Geekery Editor

NSFW Sunday: The Beginning of Sex, the End of Bed Death

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Bear with me if you already know this about me, but I used to be a sex blogger, which I don’t really do anymore because I don’t really have time to. And I participated in a roundtable for Sinclair Sexsmith’s then-project, Butchlab. So I logged on one day and all of a sudden I had a spike in my traffic (my blog wasn’t super popular, to say the least, so I noticed). 600 new humans viewed my blog in a two hour window. And I was like, wtf? So I looked at my analytics a little bit closer and found out everyone was coming from this post right here. So I was like, huh, what’s this Autostraddle business? And I click through and I was all, whoa. THIS IS THE FUCKING GREATEST! So I started reading that day. Then in 2012 I started dating my now-fiancée. And one of the things I said to her was, man, if I could have my work on, like, Autostraddle regularly? I think maybe then I could die of happiness. And so during one my handstand classes (I used to study circus acrobatics, which is awesome and I’d like to start doing that again), the Autostraddle call for new contributing editors happened. And my then-girlfriend, now-fiancée sent me the link which I checked on a water break and, welp, here we are!


Crystal, Human Resources Director

OurChart (RIP)

I’d been struggling to remember my Autostraddle root because I knew a few of the OG staff long before this website was born. Thankfully, Riese reminded me that my gratitude is wholly owed to Ilene Chaiken, the creator of The L Word but also OurChart.com, a lesbian social networking website on which our Editor In Chief, Riese, was a columnist. OurChart.com was kinda amusing but admittedly effective, as Riese and I began to network socially and then a few years later, a bunch of us started this thing. R.I.P. OurChart.


Fikri, Contributing Editor; Brittani, Sports and Comedy Editor; Robin, Contributing Editor

Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

kanye-west-taylor-swift

Fikri: Sorry. But not really sorry because it’s a great article — it’s the infographic that sold me, probably, and the ALHs on those angel boys. And the astute feminist critique of pop culture, obvs, even though I am 1) the worst at pop culture and 2) particularly not a fan of Lady Gaga. More accurately, however, it was the first A-Camp that brought me to the Autostraddle community, which I attended despite not really knowing much about AS back then because I was young and impulsive… and most importantly, my then-crush, now-girlfriend was really into it. Post-Camp I read everything and anything, then I stopped visiting the site for a bit in the resultant overload of feelings, and then the Senior Editors called for new writers and here we are now.

Brittani: I’m not 100% confident the Taylor Swift article isn’t what brought me to Autostraddle because the timing works out but I really wish it had been something edgier. And maybe it was because I guarantee I had zero interest in Taylor Swift, BUT the year prior a couple of lady queers performed “Love Story” in drag and so maybe remembering that performance fondly would have been enough for me to read about T-Swift. I don’t know! Either way, I know I started reading AS religiously in early 2010. I was taking an intro Political Science class where, under normal circumstances, most people wouldn’t attend lectures but the professor was an evil genius and gave pop quizzes that were like 30% of the grade so you had to go. The quizzes were always at the beginning of class but after I took it, I didn’t want to bounce because I wasn’t that big of an asshole though some people definitely were. Instead, that class became my official check Autostraddle.com time. At that point, there was nowhere near the amount of content that currently goes up and so I’d be super bummed if there was nothing new I wanted to read which led me to going back in the archives and reading a bunch of old articles. The lesson here is only take classes that have wi-fi in the lecture hall.

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Robin: Literally the Taylor Swift chart was how I first learned about AS, but I didn’t start reading it regularly until fall of 2012, when I was in that weird place of post-college ego-shifting, and Autostraddle was a big conduit for me to learn Stuff They Don’t Teach You in School That Would Probably Have Helped You Come Out To Yourself More Healthily as far as cultural history. I was also sad and mostly alone in a new city at the time, which meant a lot of TV, which meant reading a lot of recaps, and now I’m here!


Audrey, Contributing Editor

Joy and Rage: Why the Fight for Queer Equality Doesn’t End with Marriage

 Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera marching for the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) at 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day March.

I knew about Autostraddle before I knew about Autostraddle. I had read Carmen’s amazing Q&A with Dear Coquette, which I found through Coke’s blog, and the top 10 lesbian movies list which a friend sent me. My friend Kelly gave me a So Many Feelings notebook. But these things came to me from various corners and I didn’t fully understand the glorious thing I had stumbled into. When I read Katrina’s article, it shook me up hard because it articulated so many things I had begun to think and feel in the five or so months since I came out. I shared it everywhere. A couple days later when Kelly mentioned that Autostraddle was looking for a new editor and I said I didn’t know what that was. She pointed out I had just posted an article from the site, and I fell down the rabbit hole of personal essays, brilliant culture critique and all around badassery that makes up our little universe.


Carolyn, NSFW Editor

Top Ten – Lesbian Literature – The Classics

I found Autostraddle when the logo was still handwritten and the L Word recapping rampant. I am reasonably sure that Laneia’s then-anonymous “Now What?: An Intro to Green, the DIY Movement and Handmade Nation” was near the top of the homepage the first time I ever came to the site, which means I was probably here to look at this piece circa March 2009, but like much of the rest of the internet circa March 2009 the details are hazy. I think I heard about it from a friend, but she might have heard about it from me, and neither of our Gmail archives are forthcoming. I only became obsessed after the spring 2009 call for an intern army happened (I can’t find the post but here is evidence that it existed) and I was too underpaid as it was to apply, and so instead I reloaded the post a hundred times until the deadline passed and then reloaded the website a thousand times until the July 2010 call for writers and then I applied and here I am.


Alley Hector, Contributing Editor

Technostraddle (Now Known As Geekery)

Lesbian-Robots-flower-cross-love-human-and-robot

I heard about it when it was pretty brand spanking new in 2009. I had just been laid off from my job at OregonLive.com and was deciding whether to take the blog I had started there, qPDX.com independent and AS inspired me to say yes to that. Never achieved the level of success that AS did but we were a great local resource for many years. Plus, I saw that AS had a tech/nerd section and I was so excited about the combination of those two things I emailed the then editor of it, Taylor, and we became online friends and then real friends two years later when she moved to Portland and now we live together. So, you know, I think it’s served me well!


Stef Schwartz, Music Editor

This Girl Called Automatic Win

I found an Autowin Top 10 on a Gawker roundup of personal blogs (Gawker used to be really good and very supportive of New York-based media) and then read it religiously and then I bribed Riese and Carly to go to a Northern State concert my company was running so we could meet and be friends, only we left the concert and went to San Loco and maybe drank margaritas? …Next thing I knew I woke up in a bathtub full of ice and my kidneys were gone and it was seven years later and I was the Music Editor.


Lydia Okello, Style Editor

Girl-On-Gallery: Girls-on-Girls!

shane-carmen-bed-scene

I remember that I ended up on Autostraddle for the very first time because I (timidly, in the dark, all alone in my room) typed “I am falling for a girl…” And just like the queer, cooler, older sister I never had, Autostraddle gave me the right answers and helped me simmer down from panic mode. I’m not sure when exactly this happened, my guess is the winter of 2011 ’cause I was ~going through~ some thangs at the time and really searching for help. (*cue “Emotions” by Destiny’s Child*) Regardless, the witty and hilarious pop culture articles combined with real life queer Dear Abby advice meant a lot to me. In looking into my browser history, though, it seems my first forays may not have been as innocent as I thought. Maybe I clicked over to the “You Need Help Section” eventually but there is a strong likelihood that this gallery was my first interaction with Autostraddle. Yay hot girls. I’m easily won over by makeouts. And I’m still here!


Gabrielle Rivera, Writer

The Homepage

retro.

Autostraddle found me. Somehow someway Riese & Co. found my first short film “Spanish Girls are Beautiful” and I received a DM on my twitter account from Riese. I had no idea who she was or what an Autostraddle was but I was so floored that someone outside of my world had seen my work and liked it. I couldn’t believe that a queer organization/website gave a damn about what some Latina dyke from the BX was doing. And then I clicked on her link and fell in love with the site. Riese asked if I’d be down to write about the experience of making the film and I did and they loved it. I was asked to keep writing about anything and everything I wanted to write about. They didn’t put me in some weird brown box. I could just do my thing. Also, I met a bunch of them IRL around the same time and I fell in love there too. No group of people on earth had ever sought me out and claimed me as their own. I’ll never ever forget that moment. It’s changed and deepened my experiences as a queer human on this earth forever. A family chose me, not because of blood or looks or wealth, but because they could see me pouring my soul out into the world and they knew I was worthy of love just for being here.

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74 Comments

  1. You guys i love this so much. The team pieces and roundtables are always among my favourite things you guys do because it’s an adorable and hilarious and heartfelt and very endearing reminder of how real and awesome everyone at autostraddle is. Reminds me of sitting around in a circle on the cabin floor at A camp, Runaways all getting to know each other in our feelings circle by asking what would be invasive personal questions in most other situations (are you out? How did you come out? Who was the first straight girl who messed up your brain and heart? Etc etc) One of the more important questions was “what brought you to autostraddle?” and resulted in so many different answers and shared love of your fantastic content over the years. Thanks for sharing your roots, team!

  2. First thing that ever brought me to Autostraddle was a Google search on “how to know if gay”, which took me to this article. Later Google searches turned up another, and another, and then L word recaps, and PLL recaps, and eventually I was just here everyday, and now I think I check for new articles more often than I open my facebook app (which is to say, a lot).

  3. I found Autostraddle in the links of Dorothy Snarker’s blog (thank you Ms Snarker!) while I was was still sorting through my coming out process. I liked the site and started visiting sort of daily but only as I reader.
    I lurked for months, maybe a year, and little by little I started commenting on articles. One day I won a comment award and decided to create an account. Still here after all this time.

  4. I love these roundtable sort of posts. Sometimes I forget that you guys were once lost little queers googling support too.

    My girlfriend actually found AS first by (surprise, surprise) googling “how to have lesbian sex”. It was maybe a month since we had come out and we read that whole stinking article and I thought “wow, somebody gets it”. For a while, the only way I could find the site was by going through that article because I could not remember the name for the life of me. That was 2 1/2 years ago and I’m still addicted.

  5. I love these team posts. ♡♡ you guys are the bestest ever♡♡

    So Camp was basically introduced to me bt a friend in the Philippines and im over here like lesbian camp in LA idk about?? And I think to myself there is no way I can even go if I wanted because telling your mom and dad ‘im going to go camping with a bunch lesbians i met off the net’ isnt going to happen. So that was early 2012 or late 2011. I checked out the site for like 5mins and made an account. Which would remain dormant for the longest time.

    Forward to about May or June 2013. I google the words ‘how to use a strap on’ and the first article is one by Ali. And it was amazeballs! I asked myself why I was missing this site my entire life!! How do sign up? Is there a fee? OMG its free!! Then i realize OMG. I DO HAVE AN ACCOUNT. This has that camp thing!!! BAM. The rest is history.

  6. 2007. Was reading AE recaps of South of Nowhere when Riese was TOTALLY being that person linking to her blog in the comments. I clicked, became an avid reader of Autowin, the rest is history.

    Almost tried to become an intern in ’09, how different my life might’ve been…

  7. AAhhh I love reading these team posts.

    I found Autostraddle while I was trying to find underwear that met my “boyish, covers my ass, but doesn’t bunch” qualifications, which led me to this article: http://www.autostraddle.com/boyshorts-mens-underpants-girls-lesbian-1010-22539/

    The article was already 2 years old by the time I found it, so most of the underwear listed was no longer being sold, but that became irrelevant very quickly, as I realized this was a site that held the answers to all of the very awkward questions about queerness and lesbian sex that I’d been secretly harboring in my quest to fully come out to myself.

  8. I love roundtables.
    I think I found you thanks to some L Word/Skins recap, I don’t remember exactly. What I remember is that initially I tried to keep myself away from the rest of the site because I wasn’t yet come to terms with who I was and I was afraid that it was too much for my little insecure heart. But I kept on coming back. Read something new everyday. Then read old articles in the archives. Then Stef wrote Coming Out As An Amorphous Weirdo and I knew I could’t leave anymore.

  9. Awwww. Now I have so many feelings about getting here. Being here. You guys I never thougt in a million years I would find community like this and have the balls to get to Camp.

    Everyone here is amazing and wonderful and funny and I feel like we’re all crazy in our own ways and that everything is fine and okay and no one will judge you.

  10. I just spent way too long scrolling back through my activity log to see when I joined this site. 3 years, 4 months ago. I’m pretty sure I was aware of the site and had read some articles here longer ago than that, but I feel like it was riese’s Glee recaps that made me finally make an account. I honestly can’t remember how I first found AS because at this point it feels like I’ve always been here.

    Also, Gabby – that’s beautiful.

  11. “Me too” on naming Annika. In my case, it was her piece, “Ten Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My Transition.” It’s been a tremendous help as I’ve begun my own journey.

    Of course, once I was here, I haven’t been able to go a day without my Autostraddle.

  12. I’m so ashamed by how long it took me to warm up to Autostraddle but I was just starting to realize how cool the articles were and funny the comments were when I was given the finally push by:

    THE AFTERELLEN REDESIGN

    Painful to the eye and destroying online sapphic bonds since 2013.

  13. This is making me so emotional and also jealous that I can’t remember my root. My only defense is that as soon as I found Autostraddle, I started reading every single post that went up every day (hugely sympathize with Brittani’s struggle when there were no new posts and 40 minutes left of class), so it all started to blur together. In a totally dweeby but 100% serious way, it feels like Autostraddle has just always been my home.

  14. I took a trip back through the frontpage in big skips, and the earliest article I can definitively remember seeing was the post for A-Camp, 8 months ago. I can’t remember how I got here, but reading about this thing was possibly the most heartwrenching thing, because I suddenly understood I wanted that kind of togetherness with women so bad, but also that I was way, way too poor to go.

    And 8 months might not seem like very long ago to y’all, but you gotta understand — That was 2 months after I started to transition. And I hadn’t even hit February yet, which was when I actually started to feel GOOD about myself for the first time in since puberty happened, it was a time as revelatory as it was traumatic, and there’s a lot of it I can’t even remember properly.

    But I remember Autostraddle. I remember the first damn queer womens site that said “Yes, little trans lesbo, we love you too.” and the only one that I’ve found is really staunch about it, whose comments don’t fill up with terf trash that makes me feel like I’m performing some digital-age retelling of Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

    I feel at home in this community, and that’s so important. Autostraddle has probably saved my life.

  15. “I remember that I ended up on Autostraddle for the very first time because I (timidly, in the dark, all alone in my room) typed “I am falling for a girl…” And just like the queer, cooler, older sister I never had, Autostraddle gave me the right answers and helped me simmer down from panic mode.”

    This is TOO PRECIOUS.

    I found Autostraddle through the Glee recaps. I remember laughing to tears about how Finn Hudson was made of “mashed potatoes and drywall” and then clicking some of the From the Archives links and having my mind blooowwwnnnn. It was my first time encountering writing on the internet that really felt like me and was nuanced and interesting and introspective and catered to my interests (gay stuff & cooking)

  16. My first AS article was that underwear roundup from, like, 2010? 2009? My next article was probably one of the “When I Knew I Was Gay” team roundtables, and that really cemented it. I started reading regularly when I got my own laptop a few months later (no more worries about browser history deletion!).

    What I’m saying is never stop publishing team roundtables!

  17. I think I had been here once or twice already, but the first time I really started paying attention was when I was looking for Lip Service recaps a couple years ago. The first series. Am I ever grateful for those! Because I found such a loving, supportive place and now I can’t imagine going a day without checking in here. Love you guys. <3

  18. I found AS through searching for “queer/gay girl fashion” in 2011 because I was tired of looking at Cosmo websites in search of cute things and not knowing what queer girls think are cute. This was during my summer of coming out to myself, and everything was new and strange and scary and I didn’t know what I wanted or how I wanted to look, and those fashion articles kind of helped me get a foothold in the queer world, in a friendly and funny way. And I realised I could still be myself and be queer and find people I thought were cool. Being queer wasn’t going to be the end of everything.

    And now I can’t imagine what my life would be without AS. I literally can’t imagine it, because I was forming a new life and self when I found this place, and AS has sort of been my guideline to being queer and more myself today than I ever was before. The day I found this place was one of the most significant events in my life. So yeah. Thanks everyone, because I would have been very lost and alone without you, and I continue to need your collective wisdom and humor. <3

  19. I can’t remember the very first article I read. I know that I read a lot the first day I found AS. The Q&A’s with Annika and Sebastian were the first articles that I really fell in love with. From there I just read everything and Autostraddle became part of my everyday life.

  20. “And just like the queer, cooler, older sister I never had, Autostraddle gave me the right answers and helped me simmer down from panic mode.”

    This! I came to AS through googling “how to be gay” in January 2012. I had spent the last six months coming to terms with the fact that I was super into ladies, but I didn’t know how to reconcile that with the last 24 years of my life. That realization made me feel so much at home with myself, but like a stranger in my life. I was still very much clinging onto the idea that there was really only one way to be gay, and I didn’t know how to do that. As my 2012 New Year’s resolution, I promised I would start coming out to people by my 25th birthday, giving me roughly six months to figure things out. The AS family showed me that queer comes in many colors and I don’t have to pick one way to be forever and ever. AS gave me the tools to build my confidence as a newly out lesbian, and they gave me a community online that I didn’t have in the physical world.

  21. Thanks for sharing the posts that led you to Autostraddle!

    I don’t remember what my first Autostraddle post was about. I discovered the site right after adding a bunch of new Facebook friends from Meetup, who posted links from Autostraddle all the time. My best guess is that it was an article about femme style and fashion, which I appreciated seeing. Of course I can be queer and still feel like my hair is too short when it’s anywhere above my shoulders.

    I do remember the moment when I felt like this was a place I was supposed to be, though. While waiting in an airport, I paged through every How to Be Gay and Coming Out Stories post I could read on my tiny iPhone screen. As I read story after story, I finally felt like my own story was okay. It was all right that I hadn’t known from early childhood, that I had grown up with accepting parents yet still repressed my attraction to women, that I had figured it out but turned my back on the knowledge because I didn’t know how to be gay. Autostraddle affirms that we all get here at different times, carrying different issues, choosing different labels.

  22. I found it through Annika who i obsessively followed on tumblr in a time of my life when i really needed it. She has had a profound effect on my transition for the better, I saw her post about A-Camp and then everything that followed and when she decided to take a step back it was autostraddle that replaced it for me.

  23. Hello! I never ever comment although I lurk this website pretty much day in day out and i think what brought me here were the Real L Word recaps. And I was so thankful to find an awesome alternative to AE, which had started to become a tabloid for gay ladies. Keep up the good work, ladies!

  24. I definitely did not find this website within two weeks of coming out to myself via a track by track review of a Tegan and Sara album*. That would the the very definition of gay

    Pretty sure it was the Sainthood review.

  25. I might (almost) never comment, but I’ve been here since the very beginning. From This Girl Called Automatic Win to OurChart to here. And it’s still amazing! Even though I’m a lurker I just wanted to say that Autostraddle has helped me immensely in almost every aspect of my life. I can’t really put it into words so please just take my word for it

  26. I think I found autostraddle through one of my besties when I went away for the first time to university. It really opened my eyes to a whole new way of being and I will be forever grateful for her and for autostraddle.

  27. L word recaps. I think I may have typed”Lesbian tv drama” into Google. I never signed up or commented, but as my gayness transformed from bean to giant baby dyke beanstalk along with my confidence, I ended up a fully fledged forever clicking straddler. Ah, and here I am now,four years and still part of my morning routine before checking emails. Best decision ever.

  28. Googling Shane, as one does, I stumbled across theroadbeststraddled.blogspot.com then autowin. I remember posts about ‘new autostraddle’ coming soon. This is from autowin right after Autostraddle launched; “Right now it looks like an L Word shrine ’cause that show just ended and that’s all the old autostraddle content. Pretty soon it’ll look like an Awesome Shrine, and we’ll do a dance around it, like they did in early 90’s movies with lesbian & witchery undertones.” Riese looked right into the future with that one.

  29. I was a bit lonely one day having recently gone through a relationship break up and I decided to do a google search with the vague terms Lesbian Online Community Lifestyle Sexuality plus many other relevant words that lead to various dodgy dating websites and For Straight Male Consumption Titillation content.

    I searched for the right minimum combo of keywords: Community Lesbian Opinion maybe Lifestyle but Lifestyle was the word that may have taken me away from what I was looking for and into How-Would-You-Like-To-Threesome-With-My-Tolerant-Husband-and-I-Territory?

    So after much angst and frustration I found something called Autostraddle, and it was absolutely what I wanted:

    Excellent writing on opinion, pop culture, feminism, sex, relationship stuff, music, tv show recaps, humour pieces, first person stuff and roundtable stuff. I was so buzzing when I found it I wondered if it was real, and if I had magically been granted some accidental access to the world I wanted to be in and live in, and how would I get here again, and I hope it doesn’t vanish overnight, like a dream, and so I wrote the website address down. I have since learned to favourite this, and I read autostraddle 2 or 3 times a day, for new content. Also Gabrielle’s comment is beautiful.

  30. It was the winter of 2010-2011. I was studying voice with Haviland at the time. I don’t even know if I was out to her at the time (not that I was in the closet – it just hadn’t come up in conversation). Anyway, Haviland told me about Autostraddle, and the rest is herstory. Thanks, Haviland!

  31. I have way too many feelings to fit into simply a comment, the words, videos, images, quips, feels of Riese, Haviland, Laneia etc have really been deeply bonded to my own inner feels.

    I was here on the first day, and way before its existence and it’s something I hold very dear to my heart.

    As cheesy as that sounds it really isn’t very often you get to watch (and feel like you’re in on it on a personal level despite not actually being involved) something like this site come into fruition, and then blast off into amazing places.

    How I got to autostraddle:

    1. Beginning in 2007 I came across and was hooked by: This Girl Called Automatic Win (riese’s original blog)

    2. This video and this video sealed my commitment to making sure I always followed anything Haviland & Riese did. Real (embarrassing) talk: I also instantly developed a brief but gigantic internets crush on Haviland so the videos had a slight hypnotic effect on me as well (i promise that’s not weird).

    3. Through reading the blog I slowly realized that riese might actually legit be somehow linked to my own brain in the sense of “wait those are my exact thoughts and how I would say them, a feel I still get today. How incredibly talented a writer she is not just in clever wordings, but also how deeply relatable she can be; it’s a real superpower she has.

    4. The Road Best Straddled (L word recaps)

    5. Link from TRBS ^ blog –> to here. IIRC the already previously posted recap of the LAST episode of The L Word was the FIRST “article” posted on the actual Autostraddle that is today (and further iirc The road best straddled eventually ended up going by autostraddle and then essentially ‘moved’ here).

    🙂

    If you’ve never read riese’s old blog, I highly recommend it. It’s kind of like a mash up of her “Things I read I love” posts and when she gets really intense in a smart way in autostraddle comments mixed with vlog links, mixed with all of her intense serious feelings posts 🙂

  32. I really love these roundtable posts.

    Dear Queer Diary got me into Autostraddle. I think I first heard of it through a friend, sometime around Dyke Weekend 2014 and I was in, like, queer withdrawal being back out in the “real world” after Rainbow Pride one week and Dyke Weekend the next. Dear Queer Diary was something I “got” without feeling overwhelmed by the “new kid at school” feeling, like everyone knows everyone else already.

    So I started checking often for that, and then started branching out into other posts, and now I’m here. ♥

  33. after i had bled effingdykes dry, i was looking for new material. i randomly clicked on a few of the links, one of which was autostraddle, hoping that they’d match up to the holy grail of effingdykes. and i’ve been reading autostraddle pretty much everyday for the last 4 years. testament to the good work that goes on round here.

  34. I remember being at University and watching The L Word, and actually acknowledging to myself that yep, I was gay. I felt like Henny Penny and wanted to scream to the world that the sky was falling in…but couldn’t because that would draw attention to the issue.

    So then I started googling for gay websites that could help me navigate the turbulent, stormy waters of my emotions and found this amazingly wonderful corner of the internet that is Autostraddle. I didn’t read anything for a long time, because I thought of this as crossing a line that I could never come back from, on top of the message that ‘God hates gays’ that I was getting from my Christian community.

    But here’s the thing: Autostraddle made it okay. It normalised everything and gave me a compass. You said, hey girl, you might not know where you are right now, but we’re going to wait here with you until you can find your direction.

    Vanessa’s article:“Is she gay? Should I ask her?” was the very first page I bookmarked and is still my very favourite piece on the whole site.

    As many others have articulated: Autostraddle (literally) saved my life.

  35. Loved this. Made me think about the root that led me here… it has so many layers.

    Once upon a time there was a girl named Tavi who started an online website for teens called Rookie. Now this girl, as with so many others, attended an institution called high school. Coincidentally, this high school was also attended by a cousin of mine I’m rather close to. One day, at our annual family reunion, this cousin came up and showed me an article about Tavi and said “You know, she reminds me a lot of you, I think you should read this.” I was intrigued. My mother was intrigued. That Christmas I got my own copy of the Rookie Yearbook Two and read it practically cover to cover. This was somewhere towards the end of my denial period (which is what I call the I’m-in-love-with-a-girl-but-let’s-just-pretend-I’m-not phase of my life) and I remember reading an article by Krista and thoroughly enjoying it. So I looked her up on the website and found out she had a blog of her own. I instantly became smitten and read almost every single post in one day, because why do math homework when you can have attractive girls and a witty sense of humor? After about a month of reading her blog and looking at the autostraddle link on the sidebar but never clicking it, I thought, what the hell? And I read a couple articles but then let it sit for a while. And then I thought, “Oh, I haven’t checked on that Autostraddle website in a while, maybe I should see what they’re up to?” I can’t remember what post initially drew me in so much–it may have been the one about buying bras for women with small boobs during bra week, because I can totally sympathize. But I read the article, and I was like, woah, this site is kind of amazing. And then I made an account and spent all weekend digging around in the archives, and the rest is history. And I can honestly say that I would be a very different person if I hadn’t discovered it.

  36. I can’t remember how I found Autostraddle… Maybe it was through a Spanish lesbian website? That’s posible. They have a section with links to other interesting websites, and Austostraddle is definitely one of them. I’m not sure.

    Anyway, I found you and I’m so happy I did and that’s all that matters.

  37. I cannot for the life of me remember when I first found Autostraddle but I know it was wayyy before I was queer…I knew about Autostraddle as a website way before I knew that *I* needed it, you know? Anyway I have super vivid memories of sitting in my college dorm reading those Underwear Week posts about boyshorts, thinking I wanted boyshorts, thinking “you’re gay you’re gay you’re gay”…but I already knew what Autostraddle was at that point. I think I found it through a random Google search when I was about 15? but I have NO idea what the post was and it makes me so mad.

  38. Loving everyone’s AS root stories!

    I feel like I don’t have a precise memory of stumbling across AS. I think I read an L Word recap here or there, but I didn’t realize AS had become even more awesome until these great queer articles started popping up on my Facebook feed. One story that stand out for me is Gabby’s awesome First Person piece, Fat-Booty Butch Wears Leggings — Confuses World, Confronts Self

  39. Kate’s OITNB recaps, summer ’13. I honestly don’t remember how and why I started watching OITNB, but like everyone else, I became absolutely obsessed. Then I stumbled into these amazing, hilarious recaps… I was in a weird place concerning my sexuality, so I didn’t really get into the other content until I started watching The L Word a few months later, which, for me, was like this final, I-AM-REALLY-EFFING-GAY moment, and then I read Riese’s reacps, and yeah, realized what a goldmine AS was.

  40. This:
    “But if you dare to let go, if you dare to stop thinking about what box you fit into and just start being who you are and letting yourself want what you want, then I think you’ll wake up one day and find yourself sitting in the right box which might not be a box at all.”

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About My Sexual Orientation And Were(n’t) Afraid To Ask

    I posted this to my tumblr back in 2012. It was the first thing I ever read from autostraddle as I was trying to figure everything out after 7 years of dating (albeit feminine) boys. I was an out and proud little lesbian at 15 but somewhere around 18 I got scared and dated guys until I finally accepted that unlike beer and wine, a taste for guys was just something I would never acquire.

  41. I saw someone have a fangirl moment when Riese commented on something on AfterEllen, where I used to live when I first came out. So I wandered over to have a look myself.

    Now if I type “Af” google chrome automatically completes AfterEllenPage.com . Magic.

  42. This is so neat! I love the idea of everyone having an Autostraddle ‘root’, even if I can’t quite remember what mine was. It’s neat to see which articles come up in the comments, too. And I really like reading these roundtables!

    Like I said, I don’t remember what I read here first, but I know it was in August of 2010, because I know I was staying at my grandmother’s house and I had my laptop set up at her dining room table. (The odd little details that stick in your memory, eh?) (I have a feeling maybe it was a music post? Perhaps?) And I remember going through everything on the homepage, and back and back and back in time, and just being super into every article I read.

    I had been reading AfterEllen for a couple of years at that point, and it was good, but I remember feeling like Autostraddle just *understood* me better, if that makes any sense.

  43. Loved this! Especially Gabrielle’s piece about a family seeking her out. <3

    I first became aware of AS when I overheard a few fellow gender studies students critiquing it. They were really tearing the site apart, but their arguments were snooty and pathetic, like "it's too watered down". Well anyone with their head stuck in academia-land thinks everything except primary source critical theory is watered down. I wanted to draw my own conclusions, so I looked it up and found a wonderland of representation, validation, consciousness-raising–and it was all wildly accessible & entertaining.

    I still often sound like a textbook (which I can't stand); returning to Autostraddle helps me kinda ground myself and loosen up a bit. The language here has literally formed a community, which is actually quite inspiring.

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